FAM­ILY pow-wows

Parenting - - Hot Tips -

Our sec­ond fam­ily chat was a more ‘life and death’ topic – baby chickens. How tightly to hold them, how to keep them from the cat (you get the pic­ture). Oth­ers were about pocket money, chores, en­ter­ing bed­rooms with­out knock­ing, where to stay on a trip, shar­ing hair­brushes, screen time, and the build­ing blocks of faith (we use Faith Box for this).

With to­day’s hec­tic pace, it's easy to slip into the role of dic­ta­tor or mar­tyr. A reg­u­lar round ta­ble of shar­ing and lis­ten­ing will knit every­one to­gether. En­joy fewer squab­bles and more com­pli­ance as chil­dren read­ily in­ter­nalise in­struc­tion, fol­low rules and ac­cept con­se­quences when they take an ac­tive part in the process. This habit of meet­ing to­gether will open the doors so wide that they don’t tend to shut – a bless­ing dur­ing the ado­les­cent years.

Tips for suc­cess

Use a visual re­minder

Blu-tac your meet­ing agenda to the TV or if you use Faith Box, put it on the ta­ble.

Our Post-it note prompt says 'A.A.A.' (Af­fir­ma­tions – caught you do­ing something right, An­nounce­ments for the com­ing week, and Agenda).

Set a pos­i­tive tone •

In­clude re­fresh­ments/dessert

Use a pos­i­tive open­ing ac­tiv­ity like get­ting every­one to say one thing they like about your fam­ily.

Start with a light topic like plan­ning a fam­ily fun night. Build an­tic­i­pa­tion Es­tab­lish ground rules

Keep it short and don’t worry if you don’t fin­ish – a lit­tle time to­gether is bet­ter than none at all.

Go around the ta­ble with no in­ter­rup­tions or put-downs. En­cour­age one an­other and re­spect one an­other’s opin­ions.

En­gage and en­joy

For the young ones, give them some re­spon­si­bil­ity like draw­ing a fam­ily por­trait or serv­ing dessert.

For the re­sis­tant ones, pull them aside be­fore­hand, ex­plain what you’re do­ing and get their buy-in and help.

Lis­ten to your kids and en­joy their re­sponses. Mary’s sev­enyear-old son was asked the best thing God had cre­ated. “Well, I would have to say,” he said with a smile, “That would be me.”

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